The Vernon Manor is a former hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio that had a reputation for being “the place to stay” for traveling musicians. It has since been renovated into offices for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Completed in 1924 at a cost of $1.5 million, the Vernon Manor was modeled after the Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, England. 10 The seven-story hotel featured 177 rooms and several apartments. 3 7
The Vernon was facing the possibility of bankruptcy in 1934 10 and was in a dilapidated state by the 1940s. Walter Schott, a local car dealer, purchased the hotel in 1945 and renovated it. The hotel developed a reputation under Schott’s ownership for hosting traveling musicians, including The Beetles, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, 1 and politicians, including Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. 2
By the 1970s, the hotel had become a single-rent occupancy facility. 10 Most of the occupants were permanent, low-income residents, and the building languished until it was acquired by the Belvedere Corporation in 1986. 1 Belvedere renovated the property in 1999, constructing a new lobby, fitness room, and two business centers, and expanding the restaurant and bar. 8
Due to low occupancy, Belvedere closed the Vernon Manor on March 31, 2009. 1
Early redevelopment proposals from September 2009 called for the hotel to be converted into 100 low-income apartments by the Wallick Hendy Development Company. 3 4 The Belvedere would either sell the building or keep partial ownership. Neighborhood leaders questioned whether extra low-income housing would be best for an area oversaturated with such housing.
In early October, Al Neyer Inc. proposed to convert the hotel into an office building for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. 4 The $35 million to $38 million project called for Children’s to be the building’s singular occupant for up to 17 years. 4 11 A $10.5 million, 440-car parking structure would be erected adjacent to the building. 6 Children’s, in return, would relocate up to 600 employees to the building. 5
Financing would be derived from state historic tax credits, federal New Markets tax credits, tax increment financing, and loans. 4
The Cincinnati City Council voted in favor of an aid package for the sale of the Vernon Manor on December 16. 5 The city’s Economic Development Department had been working with Neyer on a financial assistance package. The first ordinance considered would allow the city to spend funds from the Corryville tax increment financing district to acquire property for $10.4 million for the parking structure. 6 A second ordinance would permit a 25-year lease and management accord to Neyer for the garage. After the agreement terminated, control of the garage would revert to the developer. The Build Cincinnati Development Fund later received $4.5 million towards the project from the Ohio Enterprise Bond Fund 11 and $3 million from an urban redevelopment loan. 13
A liquidation sale of the hotel’s contents began in mid-February 2010. 9 Renovations of the Vernon Manor began April 12 and work was completed on June 23, 2011. 11
- “Vernon Manor to close.” Business Courier of Cincinnati 13 March 2009. 16 Dec. 2009.
- Monk, Dan. “Owner: Vernon Manor should be adapted for new uses.” Business Courier of Cincinnati 8 May 2009. 16 Dec. 2009.
- Monk, Dan. “Low-income housing could be Cincinnati’s Vernon Manor’s future.” Business Courier of Cincinnati 4 Sept. 2009. 16 Dec. 2009.
- Monk, Dan. “Al Neyer Inc. wants to redevelop Cincinnati’s historic Vernon Manor hotel.” Business Courier of Cincinnati 9 Oct. 2009. 16 Dec. 2009.
- Brownfield, Andy. “Cincinnati City Council to vote on Vernon Manor purchase.” Business Courier of Cincinnati 15 Dec. 2009. 16 Dec. 2009.
- Lemaster, Kevin. “Two ordinances could lead to 440-space Vernon Manor garage.” Building Cincinnati 16 Dec. 2009. 16 Dec. 2009 Article.
- “History.” Vernon Manor Hotel. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2009. Article.
- “Renovation.” Vernon Manor Hotel. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2009. Article.
- Bernard-Kuhn, Lisa. “Historic Vernon Manor contents for sale.” Cincinnati Enquirer 17 Feb. 2010. 1 March 2010.
- Giglierano, Geoffrey J., Deborah A. Overmyer, and Frederic L. Propas. “Vernon Manor Hotel.” The Bicentennial Guide to Greater Cincinnati: A Portrait of Two Hundred Years. Cincinnati: Cincinnati Historical Society, 1998. 180. Print.
- “Vernon Manor reopening this week.” Business Courier [Cincinnati] 22 June 2011: n.p. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.
- “Work starts on Vernon Manor redo.” Business Courier [Cincinnati] 14 Aor. 2010: n.p. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.
- “Vernon Manor project wins $4.5M in state funding.” Business Courier [Cincinnati] 10 Mar. 2010: n.p. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.